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Board Chair Hall of Fame

In an effort to celebrate BoardLeaders that have risen to positions of leadership within their board, Cause Strategy Partners is proud to present our BoardLead Board Chair Hall of Fame.

The following awardees are those professionals who have gone above and beyond in serving their communities. These BoardLeaders fully dedicated themselves to the BoardLeader Way, and in so doing, were elected to serve as Board Chair for their respective organizations. We are immensely proud to be partnered with such hard-working business and community leaders, and to have this opportunity to highlight their achievements and organizations.

The BoardLead Board Chair Hall of Fame Awardees

Ann Scholhamer

Board Chair
Sit, Stay, Read

Carolina Jannicelli

Board Chair
Lineage Project

David Barbee

Board Chair
The Center for Anti-Violence Education

Joel Field 

Board Chair
The Family Center

Ann Scholhamer  

Board Chair, SitStayRead 

Mission: To advance children’s literacy skills using an engaging curriculum, certified dogs, and dedicated volunteers.



What initially drew you to this organization and how has your involvement changed over time?

When I was looking over the organizations that I could match with for BoardLead, I was immediately drawn to the words “DOGS” “STUDENTS” and “LITERACY” in the information for SitStayRead. I am passionate about our society creating and utilizing a much more robust educational system in order to directly impact the outcomes of students in communities that have been marginalized through long-standing and still present institutional racism. Reading is an essential skill for success in school and later in life, and the reading scores of Black and Latino students are nearly half of those of their peers in predominantly Caucasian schools on the North Side of the city. Students who struggle to read and write make up a substantial portion of the 1.2 million students who leave high school each year without a diploma. This has consequences for the individual, and costs to the nation that are staggering in terms of lost wages and earnings over a lifetime.

Since I joined the board two years ago, my role changed significantly. I’ve had a fair amount of NFP board experience, and some executive roles, but never have I taken on the challenge of heading a board, especially of an organization the size of SitStayRead. I was fortunate to have great leaders both on the board and in the staff and executive director. But the responsibility of leading a board through both the Covid challenges, and begin to make and undertake plans to build an anti-racist, anti-biased organization from board, to staff, to volunteers. Without the extensive training, tools, and confidence building of BoardLead, I would likely have turned down the opportunity to begin with, and I am certain that my handling of organizational challenges would have been very difficult. Personally, the two most rewarding aspects of the work since becoming president are the deeper connections with our staff, and the ability to lean and trust so deeply in my fellow board members. I feel the challenges since March have really offered me (and other board members) to work alongside fellow members with amazing leadership, experience, and skills. Exposure to these roles would not occur in my own career, and I feel so fortunate to have guided the board to closer and deeper collaboration.

What one piece of advice would you give to someone stepping into the Board Chair role? 

I would say this – learn everything you can about the organization and board. Ask for grant applications the org has put together – for both operations and projects – they give you a really great in depth look in a concise, clear form. Know the leadership team (if it’s more than just the ED) and talk to them, but do so only with the intention of understanding at a deep level the work being done, projects being put together, financial constraints. Refrain from the ‘personal’ side, complaints, issues, etc. about other PEOPLE. Focus on how the business is run. If you don’t know your board – make sure to understand why they joined, what drives them to volunteer, their background, skills, temperament, ability to lean in to committee projects.

 

To learn more about SitStayRead’s important work, please reference the links below.  

SitStayRead 

TWITTER – FACEBOOK –  INSTAGRAM

Carolina Jannicelli  

Board Chair, Lineage Project

Mission: Lineage Project teaches trauma-sensitive mindfulness to support the holistic well-being of young people, ages 11–24, navigating serious challenges and the adults who work with them. Lineage works within the justice, education, shelter, mental health, and foster care systems, and with community organizations. We teach concrete stress management, trauma mitigation, and resilience-building skills that build interconnection and increase our students’                                                                                   self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and healthy decision-making.
 

If your organization could be at the top of any list, what would that list be and why?

“Groundbreaking nonprofits.” For over 20 years, Lineage has been a trailblazer, teaching mindfulness to young people navigating trauma and significant life challenges long before mindfulness was mainstream in this country. We teach trauma-aware mindfulness inside of the justice, foster care, shelter, mental health, education, and school suspension systems. Through simultaneous work with young people and staff, Lineage fosters cultures of interconnection and resilience within NYC systems. Lineage classes are built around a 3-part program model that weaves together facilitated discussion, movement practices (e.g. yoga/Tai Chi), and guided meditation. Our students build community while learning concrete stress management, trauma mitigation, and resilience-building skills.

Since you have joined the board, what change or development has been the most exciting to be a part of and why? 

Since I started chairing the board we have invited a Lineage stakeholder to every meeting to bring the work of the organization to life. By hearing directly from community partners and teachers, among others, our board members become more aware and better educated on the impact of our organization, and how to more effectively deliver on our mission. This heightened wisdom positions us to make better decisions and gain clarity about the future direction of Lineage Project.

 

To learn more about Lineage Project’s important work, please reference the links below.  

 

Lineage Project 

TWITTER – FACEBOOK –  INSTAGRAM

David Barbee    

Board Chair, Center for Anti-Violence Education

Mission: The Center for Anti-Violence Education (CAE) works to disrupt hate violence. We do this by developing and implementing empowerment self-defense programs so that the most marginalized New Yorkers build tools to stay safer. And we teach active bystander interventions so that more New Yorkers move from being bystanders to violence, to Upstanders against it. We do this work to actively create a more just and peaceful world.

CAE’s approach combines education, physical empowerment, leadership development and activism. Programs center the needs of women, girls, people who are Trans, Gender-Non Conforming and LGBQ, as well as those at increased risk from racism and xenophobia. CAE is based in Brooklyn and in 2019 worked with more than 3,000 New Yorkers across the five boroughs.

What initially drew you to this organization and how has your involvement changed over time? 

I was immediately drawn to CAE’s mission to disrupt gender, sexual, and hate-based violence through empowerment self-defense and active bystander intervention programs. My involvement on the board has gradually expanded over the past two years, but recently assuming the Chair role has rapidly accelerated my understanding of the importance and impact of CAE’s work through a deeper lens.

Do you have any particular memory that is a perfect distillation of your organization’s commitment to its mission?

Recent events centered around Covid-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement are shining a much needed spotlight on the undue burdens faced by marginalized communities in our society for centuries. CAE’s commitment to working with those most marginalized is needed now more than ever and it’s been impressive to witness the organization’s immediate shift in delivery to continue addressing the needs of the communities we serve.

What one piece of advice would you give to someone stepping into the Board Chair role? 

The Chair role requires active and visible engagement with the organization’s CEO / Executive Director, individual board members and, at times, staff as well. It’s important to routinely leverage your board’s governance structure, i.e. executive and other committees, by-laws, etc, to be effective in your decision-making and to facilitate execution.

      

 

To learn more about the Center for Anti-Violence Education’s important work, please reference the links below.  

THE CENTER FOR ANTI-VIOLENCE EDUCATION, INC

TWITTER – FACEBOOK – INSTAGRAM 

Joel Field  

Board Chair, The Family Center 

Mission: The Family Center’s mission is to strengthen families affected by crisis, illness or loss to create a more secure present and future for their children.

We work to keep New York families stronger, longer. With a business-minded approach to running our organization, The Family Center provides expert social and legal services, including health-care coordination, to vulnerable New York families confronting crisis or loss.

What initially drew you to this organization and how has your involvement changed over time?

I initially decided to join the board of directors because of how passionate the organization’s leadership was about their mission and how well they managed the organization. Rather than having legacy programs, management constantly evaluates the efficacy of the programming and adjusts when they determine that resources can be better utilized in a different manner. After serving on the board, I was elected as vice chairman and, after that, elected as chairman of the board. It has been exciting to see the organization thrive and continue to grow and I am very excited about the future!

What has been the most rewarding aspect of board service and why?

Interacting directly with the client families is the most rewarding aspect of board service for me. The children we serve encounter and overcome adversity that I can hardly imagine on a daily basis. Their resilience, drive, and dreams for the future are indescribably inspiring to me. They have the internal hope and determination to be successful. The Family Center helps them overcome the socially-imposed barriers and emotional constraints that could hold them back from achieving their dreams. I love being able to contribute to The Family Center in a capacity that will enable them to be successful in the future!

What one piece of advice would you give to someone stepping into the Board Chair role? 

I would suggest the following to anyone moving into a Board Chair role: Make sure that you are passionate about your organization.  You need to believe in the cause and they leadership.  As the Board Chair, you set the tone, pace, and mood for all board meetings.  You are a model for other board members and your engagement will set the expectation for other board members.

 

To learn more about the Family Center’s important work, please reference the links below.

   THE FAMILY CENTER    TWITTER – FACEBOOK – INSTAGRAM

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